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2016 Internet Governance Forum-USA



Reports from Breakout Sessions -
Event Leaders Present
Summaries and Key Takeaways



Brief session description:

Thursday, July 14, 2016 - The moderators and organizers of the day's specially-targeted current-issues sessions presented reports rounding up the key details of earlier discussions. Read a written account and view select video highlights here or see the full archived video on this page, starting at 24:00: http://livestream.com/

Details of the session:

IGF-USA 2016 concluded with a brief overview of each major panel discussion delivered by a representative from each panel event.

The need to work for more public input and more visibility of the reasoning going into decisionmaking before trade agreements was discussed in “Trade Transparency: Opportunities for input into the trade negotiation process, their strengths, weaknesses, need for reform, with specific applicability to Internet issues,” said David Snead, board and policy working group chair of the Internet Infrastructure Coalition.

There was an interest in how transparency could progress while retaining only the level of secrecy necessary for negotiating fair outcomes for all parties.

“The principal conclusion was change in the classification applied in trade and trade negotiation, possibly having less,” Snead said.

Encryption was decided to be either a blue or white dress in “Privacy v. Security – Is there room for both privacy and security in the Internet’s future?”Nathan White of Access Now explained that encryption is a tool that can be used for both good and bad purposes. For example, human traffickers use it to hide trade but security uses it to protect itself.

The panel agreed that encryption policy is lacking in America, which sits in the middle between supporting it or regulating it, thus allowing countries such as China and India to set the tone for emerging global rules in that area.

Judith Hellerstein, IGF-USA Steering Committee member, described how bringing broadband access to indigenous, low-income and remote populations, as well as disabled communities was discussed in “Expanding access, adoption, and digital literacy through technology and local solutions.”

Accommodations such as providing closed captioning for those with disabilities and the provision of affordable access for those in low-income areas were mentioned as solutions. 

Moderator Dan Caprio, co-founder of the Providence Group, said the Internet of Things is in its nascence. Principles for framework, transparency, user-controlled data and awareness were discussed during “Managing the Opportunities and Risks of the Internet of Things and Big Data.”

Wearables and the data that come from them challenge how the Internet of Things should function to protect dignity and while providing societal benefits. Caprio noted that speaker Alan Davidson, director of digital economy for the US Commerce Department, advocated taking a “human-centered approach.”

David Vyorst of Relay Station Digital Strategies said it was decided in the breakout session on “How Better Broadband Benefits Everyone: Competition as a Lever Towards Progress" that  “competition is good and Internet access is good, so we should have both.” 

The panel found that competition can increase broadband access, which drives socioeconomic growth. 

Vyorst, a co-convener of the IGF-USA 2016 event was pleased with the outcomes of the conference. “This year's IGF-USA events turned out even better than we imagined, largely because of everyone’s participation,” he said. “The discussions we had can make a difference.”

- By Courtney Campbell

Click here to return to IGF-USA 2016 homepage

The multimedia reporting team for Imagining the Internet at IGF-USA 2016 included the following Elon University School of Communications students, staff and faculty:

Bryan Anderson, Janna Anderson, Bryan Baker, Elizabeth Bilka, Ashley Bohle, Courtney Campbell, Colin Donohue, Melissa Douglas, Mackenzie Dunn, Maya Eaglin, Christina Elias, Rachel Ellis, Caroline Hartshorn, Paul LeBlanc, Emmanuel Morgan, Joey Nappa, Diego Pineda Davila, Alyssa Potter, Kailey Tracy, Andrew Steinitz, Anna Zwingelberg